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4.1 out of 5 stars14
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on 13 November 2009
I find it hard to understand all the negative reviews here, as someone who grew up with Tom Baker's melifluous tones as The Doctor on television, I think the opportunity to hear him reprise the role is simply irresistible. This series has been hugely enjoyable - but it's not supposed to be high theatre; the evocatice music and Baker's dulcet drawl just make me smile constantly, and the story featuring a macabre circus troupe and it's sinister ringmaster are superb. Surely the opportunity to hear a group of outstanding actors play their roles without frills and endless explosions is what audio drama is all about? And Richard Franklin, Tom Baker et al acquit themselves with aplomb - Paul Magrs' script is sharp and witty, and the endless bandying of polysyllabic words is ideally suited to Baker's style. Fun, cosy, and hugely entertaining - for me this series is going from strength to strength,
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Released in 2009, this is the second part of a five part story that saw the return of Tom Baker to the role of the Fourth Doctor. It is part of a story arc, and can probably be listened to in isolation but I would advise listening to Stuff of Nightmares first. It is a single hour long episode on a single disc, with some well realised artwork on the inlay.

Following the events of Stuff of Nightmares, the Doctor and Mike Yates are trapped in the cellar at Nest Cottage for the night while the murderous menagerie of possessed taxidermical terrors roams the rest of the building. The Doctor uses the opportunity to fill Mike in on his other encounters with the Hornets. His tale takes him to Cromer in the 1930's, where the dnacer Ernestina Stubbs has an unhealthy fascination wit a pair of old ballet shoes (complete with the owners feet) in the local museum. Strange things start to happen to her after she steals the shoes, and she and the Doctor are thrown into a thrilling adventure as they come up against the museum owner, who is a lot more than she seems.

The tale is largely narrated by Baker, with a few lines from other cast members. It's more than a simple audiobook, but not quite a full production. It's an effective style and allows us to glory in Bakers orotund tones as he slips right back into the role. The story itself is pretty decent, with thrills, spills and chills along the way, with the odd moment of humour. A good listen, 4 stars.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 31 March 2011
Getting better and better - this series has the tension building nicely.

I never tire of hearing Tom Baker's wonderful voice rolling out those words; and his style, and the writing is totally "Fourth Doctor".

The story this time revolves around a menacing circus and its shady denizens - can't say I've ever been particularly fond of clowns myself, and this circus is not one you'd want to run away to. With time moving backwards, as it were, or the Doctor moving backwards relative to the hornets anyway, things that were not clear in the earlier cds are now finding more answers in the later cds - and is the Doctor the instigator of all this misfortune in the first place? Have to wait and see!

Diving into the fourth cd in this series now - loving it more with each cd!
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on 12 March 2010
I loved this story and can't understand why others didn't. It takes place in the early 19th Century as the Doctor follows his foes back in time. Arriving in the small town of Blandford he finds the place almost deserted. A shop assistant tells him that the townsfolk are all still in bed, having been the previous night to "The Circus of Delights", a travelling circus that has recently arrived in town. The Doctor soon realises that there is something amiss about this troupe and before you know it he's in the thick of an adventure. Very dark and macabre. Fast moving too.

Tom Baker is completely in character as the Doctor by now and i believed every word he said and every second of the story.
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on 11 April 2011
No need for an introduction Sir Tom Baker in new adventures as The Doctor. These are in a different style to say the more tradtionally dramatised stories of Big Finish's Doctor Who because they feature a lot of narration. No doubt this is to take advantage of the great asset of the Tom voice, which seems to have changed very little. If you don't like a lot of narration in a radio play, then these may well not be for you.
The Hornets of the umbrella title are a new enemy that the 4th Doctor has fought the influence of across various times and now bottled up in Nest Cottage with a crabby housekeeper Miss Wibbsey (well played by Susan Jamieson particularly as wel learn more about her) as he tries to keep them from getting out to spread their malign influence. He enlists the help of Mike Yates late of UNIT and the style of the 1st 4 tales is like old radio shows, The Man in Black, Appointment With Fear & The Price of Fear as the 4th Doctor tells Mike tales of his previous encounters with the Hornets. These include elements like; museum exhibits coming to life, a deadly circus & deadly shoes.
Mike Yates was a replacement for the Brigadier when it became clear that Nicholas Courtney was not well enough to take part and scripts were carefully if hastily, re-written for Yates. A very good early scene has Mike revealing he has met the 4th Doctor before (Brig's Birthday Bash) and is an older Mike who is aware of teh appearances on Earth of a much later incarnation ( David T?). The scene's an excellent springboard for the relationship and history for the 2 characters which is marvellously conveyed by Tom Baker & Richard Franklyn.
Both are generally good and Tom in particular puts nuances in his peformance such as sounding sympathetic to unwanted stuffed animals coming to life.

The supporting casts are pretty good too.

Paul Magrs' scripts are good quality radio, although they may not be to everyone's taste having a not entirely traditional Who feel. I would say if you've listened to Big Finish Who tales and enjoyed the heavily narrated style of the Companion Chronicles, you should enjoy these.

A fitting return for Tom Baker & given that there's been second series ( Demon Quest I've listened to the 1st 2 and they're both good), a 3rd series set to record this summer and some more tradtional Who tales for Tom, now he's finally agreed to do some for Big Finish, the 4th Doc's return is more than a temporary one.
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third in the talking books series featuring tom baker reprising the role of the fourth doctor. There's an ongoing storyline here that is slowly taking precedence so casual listeners might be better off starting with the first one "Doctor Who": Hornets' Nest: Stuff of Nightmares v. 1 (BBC Audio).

Those who've followed the series so far will find this adopting the format as before. A complete story in roughly seventy minutes spread over one disc, with the doctor telling mike yates about an encounter of his with the strange alien hornets. There's a short reprise of the first two parts at the start of the story that lasts roughly three minutes.

The main story here involves the doctor investigating a circus that is visiting a rural town in 1832.The quality of the performances they put on are hypnotic. literally, it would seem. The doctor investigates, teaming up with a victorian doctor called farrow who is trying to make his sister leave the place, and finds a little more than he bargained for as the truth about the hornets slowly comes out.

Whilst this does slightly have middle of a series problems in that it really only exists just to push the main plot on somewhat, it makes up for that for the most of it by being a delightfully atmospheric and absorbing listen for the most part. the script is superbly evocative and tom baker really gets his teeth into it, plus the ringmaster and doctor farrow are very strong characters and very well played by the cast members who take the roles, as they make them believable and never go over the top.

Come the last third though the pace does drop off somewhat. Still, the plot development is pretty intriguing, and it did leave me eager to find what will happen next. So I'll be back for part four
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on 27 October 2011
Most of the other reviewers have mentioned what I'd declare myself.

Simply put. This is magic. I felt myself transported back to the best Dr of them all and found the whole series and it's sequel absolutley magic. It's top notch from beginning to end. I will say on the first disc, Tom starts to get back into the character but by half way through that first adventure HE'S BACK. The Dr I prefer above all the others.

I've even thanked Tom for doing this on his website.

Highly recommend it and for those curious about the bad reviews, all I can say is: "IGNORE THEM. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: "THERE ALL A BUNCH OF GIRLY MEN".

Enjoy fellow Tom Baker Dr Who fans. It's magic

PS. Tom is also doing some Big Finnish audio adventures as well and this series has 2 follow ups(the third series is almost all released now).
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on 22 December 2010
If you've either heard the first two volumes or read my other reviews you will know how good these audios are.

After being tempted back to the world of Doctor Who, Tom Baker gives an excellent performance in his most celebrated role, The Doctor!

This is Seires 1 of 4th Doctor Audios and is decidedly darker than his previous shows. This is the Doctor as he should have been in the original series. Darker, more fun and free-er to do what he wants.

The Doctor has a cottage, a dog, a housekeeper, a love of sherry, cognac and the macabre, this is Fourht Doctor as we've never seen him before.

Set between the Invasion of Time and The Ribos Operation, the Doctor enjoys being trapped in Time by an ever increasing buzzing and insect trouble.
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on 8 November 2009
The third installment of the Hornet's Nest saga sees events take a much darker and serious tone, as the Doctor finds himself involved in a very sinister and dark tale, revolving around a macabre circus in rural england in the early part of the 19th century. (what a wonderful setting, for a fantastically gothic and creepy Doctor Who story). Appropriately, Tom Baker is more restrained and serious sounding this time around, but still gives a committed and enthusiastic performance, often reminiscent of his early Phlip Hinchcliffe-produced seasons and his sonorous tones have never sounded more perfectly suited to the material. He really brings the macabre story to life and there are several moments, thanks to Baker's reading, that are positively chilling. Writer Paul Margs certainly has a love for the bizarre and creepy, and The Circus of Doom is easily the darkest and most chilling of the Hornest Nest saga so far. He also knows how to write a good Doctor Who story, and this certainly has 'classic Doctor Who' written all over it. Sadly, Richard Franklin's Mike Yates is again virtually none- existant, but it's clear by now that the final episode will be the one where he's given more to do, but he's still great with the little material he's given. The sound effects and music are also top-rate, adding greatly to the story's overall atmosphere. The balance between spoken narration and audio drama is, again, about 50/50 and the guest performers are very well played.
The Hornet's Nest saga is now in full swing, and is consistently improving on itself, delivering some excellent drama, an intriguing and gripping storyline with some horrific imagery and best of all, Tom Baker, now fully back in character and proving just why he is the best Doctor of all time. I personally cannot wait for the next chapter, which, Tom assures us, has 'A Sting in the Tail!".
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2010
The pluses of this series remain - Tom Baker attacks the role with relish and is ably supported by a decent cast (although Richard Franklin again doesn't get much to do).
The chills are memorably supplied by the script and it all motors along with abandon.
The minuses are the same too, the script is a bit contrived, the villain not particularly convincing and the whole effect is a bit 'Tales of the Unexpected' rather than Dr Who, it's still good fun and great to hear Tom Baker chewing the scenery again.
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